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Guide to the African American soldier's World War II photograph album of Munich, Germany, 1945 August

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Summary

Small bound album holding 34 black-and-white snapshots and one photographic postcard. The photographs document a close-knit group of African American soldiers of the U.S. Army's 3909th Quartermaster Truck Company in Munich, Germany, August 1945, during the last weeks of World War II. The snapshots are of individuals and groups in uniform, in casual settings; scenes include the men standing in line at mealtime, enjoying leisure time in what appears to be an un-segregated pool facility, posing with Army trucks, and standing in front of a bombed-out building in Munich. Most have handwritten captions with last names, nicknames, and some comments. Acquired as part of the John Hope Franklin Research Center of African and African American History at Duke University.

Collection Details

Collection Number
RL.11384
Title
African American soldier's World War II photograph album of Munich, Germany
Date
1945 August
Creator
John Hope Franklin Research Center for African and African American History and Culture
Extent
1 items, 1 box
Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Language
Materials are in English.

Collection Overview

Content Description

Small photograph album (6x8 inches) housing 35 loosely mounted photographs of U.S. Army African American soldiers in Munich, Germany, August 1945. Comprises 34 black-and-white snapshots measuring approximately 2 1/2 x 3 3/4 inches, and one black-and-white photographic postcard portrait (3x5 inches) of a Corporal Jack Taylor, to whom the album may have belonged. The caption on the back of the postcard bears the name of the 3909th Quartermaster Truck Company. The only dates in the album are found on one page and refer to August 16-19th, 1945, but the other photographs may have been taken before or after this period.

The snapshots are of individuals and groups, and chiefly show the men enjoying some leisure time during the last months of World War II. Most of the images have handwritten captions with last names, nicknames, and commentary. Scenes include the men posing in their bathing suits in what appears to be an un-segregated pool facility, posing with Army trucks, standing in front of a bombed-out building (the only city scene), and waiting in line at mealtime. Among the last names are: Sergeant Carney, Sergeant Riley, Sergeant Ousley, "McKnight," Louis Allen, Sergeant Edward Johnson and Private Robert Johnson ("the fat boys"), First Sergeant Brown, "Mule" Crawford, Homer Magee, "Blind" Knight, J. Martin, Jenkins ("the jive man from New Jersey"), and Corporal Jack Taylor.

Acquired as part of the John Hope Franklin Research Center of African and African American History at Duke University.

More Biographical / Historical Info

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Collection is open for research.

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The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

More copyright and citation information

How to Cite

[Identification of item], African American soldier's World War II photograph album of Munich, Germany, 1945 August, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Contents of the Collection

Historical Note

The African American soldiers in this album are shown in Munich, Germany, during the last months of World War II. The importance of the Army's Truck Companies to which they belonged has been well documented. These convoys, lifelines of supplies to U.S. troops throughout the war, were operated chiefly by African American troops such as those in the 3909th Quartermaster's, and in the Army they found in many respects a different life than the deeply segregated society they left behind. Evidence of this may be found in the snapshots of these soldiers in an apparently un-segregated swimming pool, and perhaps in a curious caption under one photo, "This is EGALE," perhaps a reference to the French national motto, "Liberté, égalité, fraternité" - liberty, equality, and brotherhood.

Homer Magee's name, along with most of the other last names and first initials, have been found in records for Camp Shelby, Mississippi; although the others are commonplace names and cannot be positively linked with the men in this album, the presence of these names at Camp Shelby may indicate the common starting place for the men in this album, who eventually ended up together in the Quartermaster Truck Companies.

Related Material

The Rubenstein Library at Duke University holds a number of photograph albums created by African American soldiers. To find their collection guides, search the Rubenstein collection guides site using the string "African American soldiers."


Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.

Provenance

The African American soldier's World War II photograph album of Munich, Germany was received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a purchase in 2017.

Processing Information

Processed and encoded by Paula Jeannet, February 2017.

Accession represented in this collection guide: 2017-0016.